My Agent Story. The Directors Cut. Part Deux of Deux

Alrighty y'all. Welcome to Part II of my agent story. If you're just now joining us (WELCOME!), you can check out Part I here! And you must read Part I before you read Part II. You wouldn't read Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire before Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban, would you?
If you're here for the inspirational MOJO, skip to the last paragraph. So, Without further ado--

WARNING: As with all my blog posts, poor grammar ahead... and foul language, too. For one of those things, I am sorry.

Part II: Spinning Teacups. It's all fun and games 'til someone pukes their guts out.

Chapter Four: Mondays will never be the same.

Okay, so before I got off the phone with Molly, she offered to get me in touch with one of her clients as a reference (another thing I didn't have to ask for, but was given).(Reminder: We left off on Monday, February 27th.)

Within twenty minutes, I received an email from Molly's client who had amazing things to say about both Molly and Folio. I was pleased as punch. But I couldn't say yes just yet.

I had work to do. At the time of my phone call with Molly I had fourteen full requests out, along with a handful of recently sent out queries. I sent out all those emails I never thought I would send, nudging these agents because I had an offer! I let them know I would like to make a decision in about a weeks time. Most agents responded within hours, but there were a few agents who I didn't hear back from for a couple days.

Sidenote: Some agents will ask you who has offered. It is completely up to you if you want to share that information. There are a few reasons (I'm assuming) they ask. 1. There are a lot of crazy queriers out there and it wouldn't surprise me to hear that someone pulled a trick like that to get to the top of the slush, and 2. Agents are competitive by nature-- as they should be! Sometimes if it's a close friend they might back down or if it's someone they're in competition with they might be a little more aggressive. The point is: This information is yours to share. In my case, any agents who requested that information were very polite, so I did not mind sharing. However, I did ask for their confidentiality, which I thought was fair.

Chapter Six: When it hit me like an effing cruise ship.

So fast forward a few hours, and I'm in my cubicle on Monday afternoon at the library. None of this had really hit me yet. I had SQUEEEE'ed and gotten excited, but it hadn't sunk in just yet.

Until I got an email. FROM ONE OF MY FAVORITE AUTHORS. This author is also repped by Folio and in my phone call with Molly I had mentioned how big of a fan I was. Because I'm such a big fan of this author I had sent this person an email a few months ago letting them know how much I enjoyed their work. Anyway, I'm not gonna go too much into the details except to say that this author sent me the sweetest, most encouraging email, including their full endorsement of Folio. They also offered to speak with me about absolutely any questions I had concerning Folio, or any other agency I was considering. These were my reactions, in this exact order:

2. Bawling my eyes out at my desk, and when that got too embarrassing I took that circus to the bathroom.

I cried. Really hard. Because it finally hit me that maybe this uphill battle had plateaued for just a moment. And regardless of who I chose, I would have someone to walk the distance with me from here on out. That might sound cheesy or silly, but knowing that someone is willing to take a chance on you-- to bet on you (because that's what it is, really)-- is something I was not at all prepared to feel. I don't think any blog or forum can ever prepare you for that feeling.

Molly had officially wooed me. And that was only Monday.

Chapter Seven: The Week of No Sleep.

You all already know the ending to this story and you're reading this because you're either my mom or just really nice. Since you know, that in the end, I picked Molly I won't go into too much detail concerning other offers (also, that'd be super unprofessional), but I will give you an overview of my week.

This is what my week looked like in offers:

Monday 2/27: Molly offered. At this point I truly felt that, regardless of other offers, I would go with Molly. However, I did not anticipate how awesome everyone in the agenting world would be.
Tuesday 2/28: No offers.
Wednesday 2/29: Agent 2 offered. Julie = Shocked
Thursday 3/1: Agent 3 offered. Julie = SWOON.
Friday 3/2: Agent 4 offered. So, maybe this wasn't all a fluke?

Saturday 3/3 & Sunday 3/4: Wow. The weekend. Over the weekend I received one unsolicited request from an agent with an agency who does not take unsolicited requests. Crazypants. I did, however, decline, because as it was my decision was difficult enough and I did not feel I would be swayed from my top prospects. I also received a couple responses from agents who I had always respected. They requested my fulls but only if their offers would sway my decision. I felt very strongly that I would make my decision between agents who currently had my fulls, so I declined sending my manuscript.

Monday 3/5: Agent 5 & Agent 6 offered. Back-to-back phone calls. Insane.
Tuesday 3/7: Agent 7 offered. At this point, I was sure that unicorns existed as well.

Chapter Eight: The Julie Complex.

So when an agent offers there's THE call. THE MYTHICAL CALL. So I did THE call seven times, and here's the thing: These agents were all awesome, every single one of them. Not only are they awesome, but they're telling you that you're awesome. When you're a writer, or any type of artist at all, you get used to rejection. You expect it. And without even knowing it, rejection starts to become like a security blanket, something you can always expect. So, I never thought it might be like this. That hearing so many people liked my manuscript would be so overwhelming. But it was. The best way I can explain is this: I felt like the ugly girl who got hot over the summer and now everyone wanted to hook up with her, and just for good measure throw in  daddy issues too! Already, I was thinking, "What if I never write a book like this again?", "What if I suck at revising?", "What if one of these agents sign me and just figures out I'm only a really obnoxious girl from Texas?"

I don't have an answer to these things just yet and I don't know that I ever will. I'm still figuring it out as I go, so To Be Continued...

 Chapter Nine: Natural Selection.

Decision Time. So, they all love you, but they all want different things too. Most of the agents all agreed on specific things. Also, unless your name's Judy Blume, you will be asked to make revisions before going on submission. Each agent had a different idea of what my revision process would be like and when they would like to go on submission. Not kidding. I heard as soon as next week all the way up to ten months. But, then some of them started asking for things I knew I wasn't really down with. And little by little, I whittled my list down to three agents, including Molly. Because I'm a total baby, hearing seven very differing opinions on my manuscript was another thing I was not at all prepared for. 

When I first started compiling my query letter and my list of agents, my critique partners and beta's asked me who my dream agents were. When I queried my first MS, I had a set idea of who would be perfect for my MS. But this time, it was different. This time I didn't have any one person in mind.

Sidenote: I did, however, have specifics I looked for. I looked for mostly newer agents (less than 3-5 years experience) who worked with very reputable agencies. I wanted someone with a selectively growing list, but with the benefits of a well recognized agency. I wanted an editorial agent, too. And, lastly I looked for people who I would want to have a conversation with.

So, dream agent. For me, it was whoever loved the story I had created just as much as I did. An agent whose passion rivaled my own. Someone who got my characters. A partner and friend who wanted to stick with me for the long haul.

My decision was difficult. But, at the end of the day, no matter which way I framed it, I couldn't picture myself not saying yes to Molly.

So I typed up this huge, long, verbose email that sounded nothing like me. I adressed it to Molly and I read it like eleven times before saying "Eff it, I'm calling her." So I did, and when I said yes to Molly she was just as excited as I was. And if there had been a doubt in my mind it was completely vanquished. And, and, and if there had been any other doubts (which there weren't) those fizzled out when I received my first editorial letter and fully saw just how much Molly got me and my characters.

So I signed my contract. And I took a picture because I'm a first-day-of-school-picture kind of gal.
Well, you guys, that's the story. That's how it happened. I am the luckiest girl in the world and I am so ready for this wild ride. I'm currently working my way through revisions... and guess what? I might not suck at them. But we'll see.  That's more of a day by day thing.

Chapter Ten: The Geekenomics. Boring.
One last thing before I close this sucker out. My stats. These are the gory, tacky details that I would want to know. PS- I just did this math tonight, so if you asked this question recently the answer may have been wrong, but these are the right numbers!
Queries Sent: 22
Query Rejections: 10
Request After Signing: 1
No Response: 1
Full Requests via Queries:12
Unsolicited Request: 1
*1 full request I did not send because I had nearly made my decision and the agent was a little late in requesting.
Contests Entered: 3
Full Requests via Contest: 7
*1 request I did not send because the agent required a synopsis and I did not have one prepared. The agent later contacted me saying they would have made an exception. This was only a day or two before making my decision, so I declined sending my full. But, lesson to you: always ask!
Total Requests: 20
Full Rejections: 10
*3 requests I did not send. Some rejections were agents stepping back due to lack of time. Some had genuine problems with my manuscript. And some said they would have asked for an R&R if I didn't have other offers on the table.

The Bloody Epilogue:

Finally, the end. You made it. Let's eat cupcakes.

This is the part where I get cheesy and inspirational. So if this isn't your cup of tea, then skedaddle! I'm sitting here all teary eyed typing this up at half past midnight. And if you're here, if you're still reading this (full on tears now) and if you're a writer or a painter or a plumber or a dreamer or whatever the fuck it is you are-- keep going. I know it's easier said than done, but I can say it because I'm doing it. I'm going. And as much as I love my agent and as pleased as I am to be working with her, she does not make me a writer. The words on the page make me a writer. My being a writer is no different now than it was in December with my stack of 50+ rejections. So whether you're writing on your lunch break and working that shit 8 hour a day job or if you're living in England and writing a book about a beautiful boy wizard who will save the world-- you're a writer. You are a writer.

My name is Julie Murphy and I am a writer.

PS- Have a question? Feel free to ask!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for THE LIST by Siobhan Vivian! It's my first giveaway, so if you don't enter I'll be heart broken and I'll probably never get on the internet again.


  1. Julie, thank you so much for sharing your journey with us (and including all the gory details I asked for). Elated doesn't begin to describe how I feel. I will be one of the first people in line to buy your book the day it launches. Congrats, girl! I think it's time for a wine cooler and a cupcake!

    1. awww Jessica! Thank you so much! Yes, winecoolers and cupcakes for all!

  2. Your story inspires me. I just want to reach into that super cute picture and hug you. You deserve this and I am so, so happy for you! I can't wait to hear more as you continue your journey. <33

    1. Well my super cute picture wants to hug your super cute picture!

  3. I'm so excited and proud of you. I'm tickled pink by your talent, persistence, and creativity. Looking forward to reading your work. Hugs!

  4. Hi Julie, so glad to get all the deets on how you and Molly connected. You made the right choice! But you already know that. The roller coaster of ups and downs will continue, but you'll have more people along on the ride with you, and that makes a big diff!

    Love what you said about my agent doesn't make me a writer. So awesomely true!

    1. Thanks Lana! I am so lucky to have found Molly and to have met so many great people in the last month-- including you!

  5. Wonderful conclusion to the agent story. Parts of this seriously made me all teary eyed. I'm really looking forward to reading your book when it becomes available!

    1. CONFETTI! And thank you, thank you so very much! I cried pretty much all through the second half of writing this blog, so I'm pleased to hear it brought a tear to your eye.

  6. Hey Julie, I believe in unicorns too! =0)

    Thanks for sharing your story, I am so happy for you.

    1. Ashly, if anyone ever believed in unicorns with me, it would be you! Can't wait to come see you at Central!

  7. Ah, after I read this I exhaled. Literally. So glad I read it! I received a partial rejection yesterday that I thought was going to be a request for a full. It was loaded with compliments and even how she saw the story (which was the same vision I have for it) and the marketing of it and then at the end, she said she didn't love it and good luck.

    So when you mentioned this being an uphill battle, I'm so there!

    1. Ohmygoodness! I know exactly what you mean. Some rejection letters read more like a fan letter. But, don't forget when you do land that perfect agent you're going to be so thankful it's the one who fell head over heels with your MS and not just someone who really liked it! Good luck, Rachel!

  8. Excellent ending to the story! Thanks for the stats, too. Always something writers like to know. Good luck with the book! I'm sure I'll be ordering your book in no time. =)

    1. Thank you and thanks for pointing out my HP mishap! It's much appreciated!

  9. I am SOOOOO PROUD of my sister!!!

    Thank you for being an inspiration to me! I love you!!! And I am SO excited for you!!!


  10. I love that you dropped an *f* bomb in your post. So. *F* bomb. Cool. What a ride you were on there!!! And it felt like we all got to go on it with you. Just unbelievable. Like super frosted Sprinkles cupcakes heaven. I'm excited for you, not just because we're new besties and you make me cupcakes and tell the funniest retellings EVER. But because you worked really hard (I read back) and you never gave up even when you wanted to and you went for that dream and you totally deserve it! You RODE the unicorn. Wait, you're still on it! Okay - when does the editing process start? Did Molly already have notes for you? And what is the deadline? Squeeeeeee!

    1. hahah! Jennie you are so *f* bomb awesome!

      To answer your questions, I'm knee-deep in revisions! They aren't too terribly heavy. I signed with Molly on a Thursday and she had my editorial letter ready to go. There is no deadline, we want to take as much time as it takes to make everything perfect! I've got a great post planned for post-revisions, so keep checking back! Seriously, comment always make my day-- especially yours!

  11. I love this story!!!!
    It's SOOO inspiring, you have no idea!!!
    Honestly, I got excited for you just reading this (Even though I already knew how the story ended haha). And I'm still really excited for when your book is out on bookshelves!


  12. Beautiful story, Julie, and it's amazing that 7 agents were in pursuit of your novel. My only question is if anywhere in your blog there is a synopsis of you novel. I'm curious to find out why your novel was so exciting for so many agents to pursue it. Best wishes from Canada, for you and Molly in making your novel into a best seller.

  13. WOWSERS! I've seen your name all over QT and was pleased as punch to read your wonderful story. Very inspirational! Congratulations and enjoy this crazy ride. Thanks for sharing all the juicy deets!

  14. Thanks for sharing your stats. You made my own stats and current experience look more like normal. Admittedly, I like to pretend that I'm not refreshing my email and freaking out, but that's a humongous lie. Best of luck to you. I'll be looking for your novel when it comes out. : )

  15. Julie! Thanks. REALLY. I loved hearing about your experience. It was (sniff, without irony) inspiring.
    I'm pitching my own YA book to Molly Jaffa this weekend at the DFW Writers Conference. I agonized over which agent to sign up with, and I'm so glad I decided to pick Molly.
    Whether or not I get a thumbs up or a thumbs down, I'm still really excited to meet with her.
    Thanks again for sharing this.